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Nama-Slay: When Elders Use Technology

by Niranjana Mittal

Sumati Huber tries to teach the boomers how to use modern technology

By: Sumati Huber

When Elders Use Technology

Technology advances faster than most people can keep up. But we must give credit to the older generations for continuing to attempt the latest innovations, despite the massive font size your dad needs to read messages on his phone. It’s all innocent, with forwarded “Good morning” pictures and questionable links, until an elder needs your help to figure something out on their devices. Then you have to suffer through things like:

Forgotten Passwords

At an age where our respected elders can never find their glasses (they’re always on their heads), helping them remember their passwords on various accounts can be challenging:

Mum: Beta, I got signed out of the Gmail. Someone was trying to send me a mail saying I won a million dollars so I need to check it.

Son: You need to answer some security questions then you can sign back in.

Mum: I don’t know how to do that, can you do it for me? 

Son: What’s your mother’s maiden name?

Mom: Hai, why do they need to know that? She had a very tough life coming to Thailand from India so she didn’t keep her maiden name. Why would she want to remember it? Just put in my password!

Son: I’ll skip to the next question.What about the name of your first pet?

Mum: Hai, why would we keep a name for them? The soi dogs and cats came as they pleased and we them leftover roti and chawal.

Son: I’ll just reset your password. Your new login is “231284”.

Mum: Hai, what girl’s phone are you putting in my email! Who does that number belong to?

Son: Mum, it’s my birthday!

Mum: Oh yes, I use it for my ATM pin also. See, I have it written down right here on this paper in my wallet in case I forget.









Online Shopping

Despite the fact that older people are inherently suspicious of technology and believe every website is trying to steal their credit card, passport, or identity, they still enjoy the thrill of ordering things online:

Dad: I can’t find my glasses, can you help me order a new pair online?

Daughter: They’re on your head.

Dad: What’s on my head? You’re always sitting on my

head after everything I sacrificed for you. Help me find one for reading.

Daughter: OK, open your window and type in “glasses for reading.”

Dad: Open the window? Which window? The air con is on!

Daughter: On your computer! I’ll do it for you. Here, how about this pair?

Dad: How can I try them on?

Daughter: You can’t, you have to choose and

return it if you don’t like it.

Dad: So, I pay for something I’m not sure about so they can steal my money and it doesn’t even look good? I’ll just go to the store.

Explaining a Technological Issue Over the Phone

Once an elder gets wind that you know how to “do computers”, there will be no shortage of friends and relatives calling from different places

to ask for your assistance:

Uncle: Hello, beta. Your dad tells me you are very good at computers. Can you check for me how I can set up this printer?

Beta: Maybe you can FaceTime me so I can see?

Uncle: Can you hear me?

Beta: You don’t have to put your ear up against the phone. This is a video call so hold the camera to the printer. No, flip the camera around, don’t turn the whole phone. It’s pointing to the floor.

Uncle: Can you see now? This is the printer. I’ve been double clicking the power button but it keeps turning on and off. They really don’t make these things easy to use.

Beta: Just press the button once.

Uncle: But on my computer I double click everything. So why doesn’t it work here? I’ll just return it for a new one. Can you also explain why my phone camera always takes blurry pictures? It must be defective, I’ll just return it also.

An unreformed party girl and mother of two,writer, editor and observer Sumati Huber tries to make sense of our unique Thai-Indian society and the aunties that she will one day become.




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